School: Brandeis University
Location: Waltham, MA; nine miles west of Boston
Funding: Private with liberal arts focus
Percent Women: 57%
Tuition (one year): $44,380
Most popular majors: Economics, Psychology, Biology, Health Policy, and International/Global Studies (55 Majors and Minors to choose from)
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 39%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit Brandeis’s website at http://www.brandeis.edu/admiss...
Why Choose Brandeis?
"I applied to Brandeis because it's a prestigious, small, research university with a liberal arts focus in the northeast, which were my basic qualifications for college. What made Brandeis special for me was the number of people who double major. I knew that I saw myself studying in different fields, so I loved that the student body embraced such academic diversity."
"I applied to Brandeis because I wanted a well respected research university with a liberal arts focus with strong psychology and theater programs. I loved the large presence of the arts, especially theater, and the fact that people truly care about each other. Ultimately, the people and the incredible academics convinced me that Brandeis was the right place."
"As my college selection process drew closer, I started to realize that I wanted to join the Brandeis community. The atmosphere of the campus felt right and I felt that I would easily get along with the other students here."
"I attended Genesis, a summer program at Brandeis in the summer of 2011. I absolutely fell in love with the close-knit community and the incredible resources that Brandeis has to offer. When I was touring colleges and starting to apply, I realized that Brandeis was the only place that really felt like home. The research opportunities here are incredibly accessible, even to freshmen which really excited me on the tour. Above all, the people who go to Brandeis support one another like family, which was really important to me when I was deciding to come here."
"I applied to Brandeis because it had everything I wanted in a college- a good science program, and music and arts. It’s near the greatest city in the world and has a decided lack of people forcing me to care about sports."
"I applied to Brandeis because it felt right. It had everything I could possibly want in a school- a 5 year MAT program, volunteer groups, and it’s near the city life that I wanted while also giving me the campus feel I needed."
"The Rose Art Museum is a great way to see modern art for free. There are some really awesome events that happen during the year and talks with authors that students can attend free of charge."
"My favorite part about brandeis is the combination of amazing courses available and the dedicated students who partake in various courses and clubs they are passionate about"
“My friends by far! I honestly dont know what I'd do without them!”
“I like how I can be friends with whoever I want and can break out of the bubble I've been in for my entire life- to some extent.”
“I like the connection we have with our teachers, especially in smaller classes. I like being able to take your professor to lunch!”
“I really appreciate having off for the Jewish Holidays! That makes it a lot easier for me so I don't miss classes on days I need to take off! Brandeis in general is really good about understanding religious conflicts with classes.”
"The brandeis bubble. For me, it makes some things more difficult and uncomfortable. I appreciate having a small community, but if you don't fit right in, it's not so easy to be a part of it."
“I hate the location! There's nothing to do in Waltham and it takes me an hour to get anywhere without a car! Not being allowed to have cars on campus until your junior year makes it really difficult to get around. Even having a car on campus is hard because of the lack of parking!”
"While our students are incredibly intelligent they lack work ethic and frequently do their work at the last minute. It makes group projects into an absolutely painful experience as you must wait for your group members to do their work until the last possible moment."
"Our school's liberal leanings are so overwhelming that sometimes it gets frustrating to only hear one opinion in surround sound al the time. Even if you agree with it, some diversity of opinion would be lovely"
"My least favorite thing about Brandeis is probably the Rabb steps."
"There's a lot of people here who go on and on about how Brandeis was their safety school and how they were this close to an ivy league. Brandeis is a good school, and a lot of people worked hard to get here, including you. Stop whining and be appreciative of the amazing opportunity that you've been given"
New Collegiette On Campus
“It is definitely a huge learning experience…. inside and outside the classroom. You’re constantly meeting new people that come from different places and cultures.”
“I was really homesick at first, but Brandeis is a very supportive environment and I soon found myself really loving it.”
"First years live in either North or Massel Quads."
“It’s really nice to live with all the other first-years who are going through the same thing as you. Some of my best friends live on my floor.”
“Orientation was really hectic. Each day was filled with different activities like the Pep-rally and mud party. It was kind of stressful at first, because you didn’t know anybody and you didn’t really have any time to settle in before the activities started. Looking back though, it was really fun.”
“I remember on the first night of orientation we gathered by admissions and were all given little electric votive candles. We all wrote on the side a dream or wish that we wanted to fulfill while at Brandeis. We all turned them on at the same time and then exchanged them so at the end we all could keep somebody else’s wish.”
"Brandeis does not offer any pre-orientation trips."
“Even though you’re living exclusively with first-years, it is really easy to get to know the upperclassmen through different campus activities and clubs as well as classes.”
“All the upperclassmen are really nice and friendly. I was kind of intimidated by them at first, but it was really easy to make friends.”
"I can’t think of any special traditions just for first-years, but there are a lot of really fun school traditions and activities like the 24-hour musical and skating at Frog Pond in Boston."
"I remember my OL telling me that the hill by the library was a good place to go sledding. My friends and I want to borrow a tray from the kosher side and try it one day."
All About Academics
“About half of the students will do a thesis their senior year, but many also don’t. There’s no pressure and the format for a thesis changes depending on what department you are working with.”
“It’s really easy to fulfill the graduation requirements; it leaves a lot of room for students to pursue multiple majors/minors or just take a few interesting classes.”
“HSSP is definitely the most popular major and it seems like a tough course load. Brandeis supplements it though with great extracurricular activities like Global Brigades, which allows you to put your hard work in actual practice and you get to help people abroad.”
“There are so many places to study at Brandeis. The library works, so does the SCC and I always love to grab a coffee and Einstein’s and people watch out the glass windows when I really feel an urge to procrastinate.”
“Often times, even if the class is full online, professors will let you convince them to let you in. It’s not always guaranteed, but there is a good chance you will get in.”
“There are advisors if you need them, but really everyone is so proactive at Brandeis it’s not really necessary.”
Learn From the Best
“I think that my favorite professor so far is Anouk Alquier, who gave me the confidence to speak French. Also, Don Katz because he is great at explaining neuroscience in way that makes the topic intriguing, and he is my psychology advisor so you have to have love for him.”
“Ugh that’s wicked hard. Probably Civil Liberties in America because the topic was extremely interesting to analyze the Constitution. The professor’s name is Daniel Breen. I like the way he tells stories instead of lecturing and he acts out the Constitution…he’s a really funny guy.”
“Classes vary based on professors. Some classes are extremely difficult but good professors can help you overcome difficult subjects. There are other classes that are easier, but it is difficult to find an “easy A class” at the school.”
“I only went to office hours once, but I do know people who go to office hours. People who really want to make friends with their professors go to office hours.”
“In my opinion, the professors are a great resource. They are not your quintessential professors in typical universities where you are not just another number. They try to help you whenever you need it. Additionally, I think that they care about you and what they teach as well. The professors have great credibility and they are respected in the societies and organizations that they are involved in. They all received their education at reputable schools so they are very respectful and intellectual professors."
“For the most part, no. I think it is definitely used at times when students need one-on-one sessions with the professors. Sometimes its pretty straightforward when it comes to studying. E-mailing also does a really good job in saving time for communicating with the professors pertaining to certain topics instead of going to office hours.”
“At Brandeis? The subjects are hard and there is a lot of work overall. You wouldn’t think that four classes a week a lot, but it is. One class may meet for only three hours a week, but three hours is more than enough with the workload.”
“I really like Professor Krauss, he taught Organic Chemistry. He was really good at breaking down the basics. He was an interesting person to talk to and his exams were hard but fair. I think that he just really wanted everyone in his class to do well and love Orgo just like he did.”
“Probably one of my favorite class was consumer behavior in business taught by Sandra Cha. I liked how the class was structured. It wasn’t a typical sit-down, have the teacher lecture, and take notes type of class. The professor made students really engaged in class.”
Interests & Involvement
"Students participate in clubs and organizations to get their foot into the larger Brandeis community and also see it as a way to bring their individuality to campus"
"People can find out about clubs through the club fair but also through word of mouth and using the Brandeis clubs website (which can be found using a google search). Many clubs offer free or subsidized travel and skills training by professionals and anyone can join regardless of prior experience or lack thereof, as every club at Brandeis has a policy of non-exclusivity."
"Waltham Group , SEA (Students for Environmental Action), Bipac, Cooking Club, Adagio, BZA (Brandeis Zionist Alliance) are some of the more popular clubs!"
"Political clubs are very popular at Brandeis, especially ones related to Israel, but the hidden gems are clubs like the sailing team, as every week we go into Cambridge to sail on the Charles River. We have a great professional coach and we get to compete against other schools in the top division of the northeast even though Brandeis considers us a club sport. The best part is that anyone can join and learn how to sail for free!"
"I would say I hear about Tron a lot but the brewing club is a big one and BASO are big too, and Global Brigades, which I'm involved in has 3 different sections of the club. I'm also invovled in The Hoot and WBRS, which are both big and I used to be involved in the Justice which is also big"
"I like the network aspect that come with joining a club."
"The best part about being involved in an organization is the mutual learning environment. Collaborating with others helps me learn a lot about myself and it also gives me an opportunity to help others reach their goals"
"Starting your own club is pretty easy. I'm actually thinking or starting one myself. A lot of my friends have started clubs and told me you just have to message the student union and they'll most likely give you funding."
"At a D3 school like Brandeis, it is pretty normal that sporting events are not a big to-do for most of the student body. However, the school has been trying to get Brandeisians into the spirit when something big like a rivalry game or a team makes it to post-season. Let’s be honest, it is not all that successful. The crowd at the sporting events is mostly other athletes. The athletes here do like to support each other."
"The athletes do have a separate culture. Many athletes do not stray far from their teams, and they do everything together. One step out from there, some teams are quite close with other teams and form the cult of athletes. It is quite the insular athletic community. This is not to say that athletes are not friends with non-athlete students at Brandeis, but fellow team members mostly take up an athlete’s social scene."
"Brandeis does offer some club and intramural sports for the non-varsity students. Most of the club sports teams are just teams for sports that we do not have a varsity team. For example, at other schools they have club sports teams for all the varsity sports but at a less competitive and less time consuming level. Brandeis offers that for sports like ultimate Frisbee, field hockey, lacrosse, aka sports that are not varsity here."
"There are intramural teams for a large amount of sports here. Intramural teams compete against teams within the Brandeis community. People here love playing intramural sports and some get pretty into it. Winning an intramural t-shirt is highly desirable by the time a student graduates here, so intramural sports can be quite competitive."
“We eat, play, live, and socialize together. Unless you try to branch out you don’t need to meet other people”
“Some athletes in my classes don’t try to get involved in class discussions”
“There aren’t many options for athletic people who are not on varsity sport teams to compete competitively.”
“I know that girls can sometimes feel shy in an academic setting, but I feel like my opinions are always valued and respected.”
“I think there is definitely an effort to make sure that women are not made to feel at all inferior because of their gender.”
“Girls can wear anything and everything.”
“Today I saw a girl wearing rainbow tights and a zebra-print shirt.”
“I think most clubs are probably mixed, but I think there are a few the are exclusively for girls like the all female acapela group on campus.”
“FMLA (Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance) had a ‘love your body day’ open to the whole Brandeis community. We spray painted t-shirts and learned a lot about women related issues that are prevalent on campus and around the world.”
“I think there are more girls than guys on campus, but it feels very balanced.”
Food & Drink
“There are two main dining halls on campus. One is called Sherman, an all you can eat buffet style and has both kosher and non-kosher options. The other is called Usdan, which is a la carte dining and provides a variety of food options ranging from vegan to Japanese to pizza.”
“The quality of the food has definitely improved in the past few years, we have undergone a shift in the food provider which has resulted in healthier local and tastier food options.”
“The faculty club is one of the best places to eat on campus for lunch. They have a delicious salad bar, soup, a hot buffet and homemade breads. If you are looking for a break from the dining hall or a more formal lunch setting this is the place to go”
"We also have our own convienience store, which is now called the Hoot Market but will always be called the C-store, which provides the basics and recently are now providing fresh produce from Russo's!"
“People who live on campus tend to eat at the dining halls more frequently than the people who live off campus.”
“Most dorms have communal kitchens people are free to use. Some suite style dorms also have kitchens.”
"There aren’t any fast food restaurants on campus but there are plenty close by off campus in Waltham. If you are looking for nicer dining options there are a ton on Moody street which is easily accessible by the Branvan. We do have a Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Einsteins Bagles and a Peets Coffee arriving next semester on campus for those looking for a coffee fix.”
“Weekends vary. Sometimes there is a lot going on and sometimes there is nothing. Frat parties and other off campus parties are generally more appealing towards underclassmen. The social scene gets old real fast.”
“Well there is definitely no peer pressure when it comes to going out and drinking.”
“Alcohol is pretty present I would say about 75% of the campus drinks. Weed is popular.”
“Cultural events such as go to chums and other on campus stuff are other options for people's weekends plans.”
“Yes, people stick to their friend group but are not afraid to branch out occasionally.”
“There are some frat parties but some are exclusive.”
“Definitely inclusive people here are nicer than at a big state school.”
“Yes, sometimes parties happen during the week...either on campus or at nearby schools. Also, on weekends people go to frat parties or parties at nearby schools”
“Pretty easy to get to and from parties, just have to walk a maximum of 15 minutes off-campus sometimes.”
“Freshmen live in either Massell or North Quad; each quad has four buildings and is close to a dining hall (Massell is close to Sherman, North is close to Usdan).”
“During the first couple weeks of the semester the CAs try to schedule floor activities, but it really depends on everyone’s schedules. You’ll get to know the people on your floor as the semester progresses.”
“There’s some sort of unspoken rivalry between Massell and North (which is better, I guess we’ll never really know).”
“There are different housing options – singles, doubles, suites, etc. – but whatever you end up with mostly depends on your lottery number.”
“With picking a roommate, there’s always a risk you won’t end up liking each other as much as you had anticipated (a.k.a. “why did I ever want to live with that person?”); then again, there’s always an exception! The Brandeis roommate questionnaire is definitely subpar in its inquiries, but a random roommate assignment is an adventure, if nothing else!”
“It’s definitely popular to live off campus as an upperclassman, regardless of lottery numbers, as many individuals do well in the lottery but still opt to live off campus. Living off campus is usually cheaper and the rooms are more spacious.”
“Waltham is a small town with a couple main streets. It’s home to a variety of delicious restaurants ranging from great brunch food to Indian and Thai cuisine. There are handful of fun shops in addition to essential stores, like drugstores and markets. The majority of restaurants and stores are close to campus (within a 5 mile radius) but I would only walk on a nice day.”
“There are plenty of bars on Main Street and Moody Street that provide students with live entertainment, bingo, and trivia. If going out isn’t your thing, then there is a local movie theater that shows the latest releases along with ice cream shops and restaurants.”
“I like that the town is a nice size—not too big, but not too small. There is enough to do, especially during the warmer months when you can go either kayaking or running along the Charles River. However, Boston, Cambridge, and other suburbs are close by if you are looking for shopping, museums, and entertainment.”
“Sometimes I wish that we had more walkable restaurants and shops. If you don’t have a car, accessing some of these places can a bit more difficult. Also, many restaurants and bars close on the earlier side (between 10 pm and midnight), which can be inconvenient if you are a night owl.”
“Students regularly take advantage of the free shuttle into Cambridge and Boston that runs Thursdays through Sundays. It is an awesome resource for people who want to get off campus and explore the city. However, some people also choose to either spend their time in Waltham or on campus because there are always events going on here.”
“Some people have internships off-campus during the semester. Our proximity to Boston allows students to take the commuter rail into Boston and intern at a variety of different companies.
HC's Complete College Guide: Brandeis University
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